Significant Verdicts

The Law Offices of Samuel G. Livingston, P.C. focuses exclusively on insurance litigation. We have achieved many significant trial verdicts and settlements in this area, obtaining millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Through aggressive discovery techniques and depositions where the facts are uncovered, we fight for your rights.

Trial experience — Samuel G. Livingston has excellent trial advocacy skills, refined from over 30 years of experience. He also has the ability to explain complex insurance law issues in ways that juries can understand. Since the year 2000, the Law Office of Samuel G. Livingston, P.C. has settled or obtained significant trial verdicts for over $25 million in bad faith and personal injury verdicts and settlements.

Trial Results That Speak For Themselves

Mr. Livingston has over twenty-five years of trial experience. The following exemplar trial results include significant documentation surrounding verdict forms, key documents when applicable, television stories and news articles, and other particulars of various trials handled by Samuel G. Livingston, P.C.

Peressini v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

The attached Verdict Form B, entered on November 10, 2005, included attorney's fees and costs and awarded over $3 million to Professor Dominic D. Peressini arising from his involvement in a 2003 motor vehicle accident while insured by American Family. The Rocky Mountain News reported that the verdict "...is believed to be the State's largest bad faith verdict against an auto insurer over lost wages..." At the time the case proceeded to trial in 2007, American Family claimed that it was still investigating Mr. Peressini's claims for lost wages which had neither been affirmed or denied. Evidence established that American Family utilized a corporate business plan intended to reduce claims payouts by approximately one-third over a four-year period. The 2003 Colorado State Business Plan concocted by American Family attempted to reduce claims payouts to keep those payments in relation to other insurance companies, without taking into account the individual needs of the insured. The case received considerable attention by way of investigative reports by Channel 7 News (click to view) which also provided details regarding the cynical nature of American Family's adjusting staff which allowed employees to keep a toy pig with wings on a claim manager's desk with company employees denying claims and joking that payments would be made only "when pigs fly."

Roach v. American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin
(American Family)

Plaintiff Tim Roach rear-ended another vehicle in late 1997, and American Family denied coverage claiming that his insurance policy had lapsed only several days before the accident. In December 1997, Roach paid $800 of his personal funds for the property damage to the car which he hit and remained subject to future claims for medical bills and/or uninsured motorist subrogation by the insurer of the vehicle which he damaged. The suit was initially brought against American Family to establish coverage for the Roach vehicle, and it was later determined that multiple documents had been removed from American Family's claim file, including the "smoking gun memo" indicating that the company would "lose if the matter goes to court or the insurance commissioner" written before the claim was denied. Evidence also demonstrated that American Family altered records to support its claim that the policy had lapsed. The attached Special Verdict Form B reflects the jury's award of $625,000 in economic damages, $375,000 in non-economic damages for pain and suffering, and $1 million in punitive damages, not including attorney fees, interest and costs. Also attached is a March 20, 2000 Colorado Jury Verdict Reporter surrounding this $2 million verdict arising from an $800 claim denial.

Nadine Petterson v. Allstate Insurance Company

In 2004, Allstate Insurance Company implemented a policy of demanding random searches of medical provider's offices whom Allstate suspected of overbilling. The physician was expected to make his office available to camera-carrying Allstate's investigators during normal business hours, with patients present, and also make clinic employees available for interviews without a doctor or other management of the clinic being present. Although Allstate was offered the opportunity to inspect clinics after hours and interview any employee which it desired with appropriate management present, Allstate declined the invitation and thereafter denied the bills of all Allstate insured patients at the clinic, including 80 year old Nadine Petterson who was denied approximately $1,200 in medical care. A Denver District Court jury awarded $1,290 in unpaid treatment charges, $15,000 in unpaid future treatment charges, trebled the past and future charges ($48,870), awarded $50,000 for bad faith damages and $50,000 for punitive damages plus costs and attorney fees for a gross verdict of slightly under $300,000.

Sullivan v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

Plaintiff Ron Sullivan was involved in a motor vehicle accident in March of 1997 and sued American Family for bad faith stemming from extensive delays in approving medical care, which ultimately involved two separate surgeries. The Livingston Law Firm was retained by attorney Greg Gold to co-counsel the case which involved a three-day trial in the Denver District Court resulting in a verdict on December 11, 2001. The Court's ruling was summarized by a Rocky Mountain News article wherein District Court Judge John Coughlin found that "American Family treated this man for six months in a horrible way and now they have another opportunity to carry out their responsibility, and they absolutely totally failed," Coughlin said, "It's a total disregard for their responsibility...for the feelings and rights of their insureds." The Court's total award exceeded $650,000 with interest and attorney fees.

Significant settlements — Given the nature of bad faith litigation, many of these settlements remain confidential per the insurance company, although the matters listed below are exempted from that requirement and represent some of the more significant settlements of public record obtained by Samuel G. Livingston, P.C. over the last ten years.

Sonoma Meat Market v. American Family involved a fire at a local restaurant still under construction. Prior to the loss, the insureds had signed, but not completed, an insurance application with American Family and made an initial payment. Immediately after the loss, American Family issued a policy which underinsured the loss by approximately $250,000. American Family also failed to pay lost wage benefits to officers of the company. American Family's agent testified that she had asked the insureds to sign their application in a blank format to be completed by the agent at a later time. Ultimately, during the litigation, three separate versions of the application were located indicating that American Family employees completed the application without input from the insureds following the loss, and one of the applications provided more than adequate coverage for the loss. After discovery of three separate applications completed by American Family surrounding the loss, the company settled for $2 million.

Watts v. State Farm involved another situation where the insured was underinsured after a fire loss. Following the Bobcat wildfire near Fort Collins in 2000, Plaintiff Kay Watts contacted her State Farm agent to make sure she had sufficient homeowners coverage and believed that her agent visited the premises several weeks later to upgrade her coverage to satisfactory levels. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Watts' home burned down in an unrelated fire and she was informed by State Farm that her house was roughly fifty percent insured in terms of both the structure and belongings contained inside the home. Ms. Watts notified State Farm that she had contacted her agent shortly before the fire to upgrade coverage. A State Farm adjuster wrote back several weeks later to the effect that the agent had never come to the premises nor increased coverage. The matter was then referred by the firm of Bachus & Schanker to this office to act as co-counsel. During the course of litigation, the agent acknowledged that he did come to the home to upgrade coverage, but had failed to download the information properly into his computer so that it would be part of the State Farm underwriting system. He also admitted that this consideration was disclosed on multiple occasions to the same State Farm adjuster who had written Ms. Watts indicating that the agent was never present or made any adjustments to coverage. As reported by Channel 9 News (click to open), "A two-year legal battle began. It was resolved in December of 2002 with Watts getting a $3.75 million settlement. The settlement happened after Watts' State Farm agent testified under oath that he did evaluate her home, in spite of State Farm's denials. 'The agent admitted he was there. She (Kay Watts) did have enough insurance,' says attorney Livingston." State Farm settlement checks totaling $3.75 million were paid to resolve a property damage loss of approximately $300,000 before the claim was denied.

(A Carbondale Family) v. American Family involved another fire loss situation where the insureds repeatedly encountered delays and denials at the hands of American Family which attempted to significantly underpay the home structural repair and contents owed following a residential fire. Although the insureds had a frame-built home at the time of the loss, American Family attempted to estimate and replace the home based upon a modular home, which was significantly less expensive given the location outside of Aspen, Colorado. American Family also refused to pay for extensive personal property located in the garage at the home and refused to either affirm or deny coverage after an extensive investigation. Ultimately, the insured moved for summary judgment as to both the structural components of the loss and unpaid personal property items during the spring of 2005 which ultimately resulted in American Family paying $536,718.81 in late April of 2005. One month later, in June of 2005, the company paid an additional $1.5 million to compensate the insureds for punitive and bad faith damages.

    Insurance Class Action

    Colorado Revised Statute 10-4-710 required insurance carriers to offer optional and extended PIP benefits to all consumers in the State of Colorado at the time of selling a standard or basic Personal Injury Protection Policy starting in 1994. Subsequently, Colorado Appellate Court decisions ruled that failure to offer the extended Personal Injury Protection benefit at the time of sale would result in the insurance company being required to provide for the optional extended PIP benefit of an additional $100,000 in coverage irrespective of whether the insured did or did not request the coverage since it was never offered by the insurer at the time of sale. Following decisions that affect, The Law Office of Samuel G. Livingston filed a class action Complaint seeking equitable reformation of all American Family Insurance policies issued between 1994 and 2002 given facts learned during discovery in other cases that the American Family underwriting department had failed to include the optional coverage in any of its policies of insurance which were offered for sale in the State of Colorado.

    Shortly before the filing of the class action lawsuit, which involved over 17,000 claimants who had failed to receive additional personal injury protection benefits, American Family entered into its own purported "voluntary reformation program" claiming that it would voluntarily reform all of its policies and provide appropriate notice to all consumers affected by the change providing additional coverage. In November 2005, a Boulder County District Court certified the class action lawsuit and ruled that the notice provided by American Family's "voluntary reformation" process was grossly inadequate and would require court supervision per the class action lawsuit initiated by The Law Office of Samuel G. Livingston. As reported by The Rocky Mountain News on November 4, 2005 (click to open) "a Boulder District Court judge has ordered one of Colorado's largest auto insurers to reopen as many as 17,000 medical and wage loss cases - nine years' worth of claims that could be entitled to additional payments of up to $100,000...Judge Morris Sandstead ruled Wednesday that a 'voluntary reformation' process initiated by American Family gave inadequate notice to Colorado policy holders. In essence, he ordered American Family to start over a claims and notification process that already has resulted in $3.5 million in additional payments to 530 Colorado policy holders..."

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    For a consultation about an insurance litigation case, with an experienced Denver coverage denial attorney, contact the Law Offices of Samuel G. Livingston, P.C.